The production team responsible for Blaq Poet’s last album is back with a release of their very own. As the name would suggest, Diggaz With Attitude is a rap album for fans of hardcore, gritty MPC-slapping beats. Hard drums, check. Solid bars, check. Stu Bangas and Vanderslice apply a tried and true hip-hop formula that may not be groundbreaking but is well executed. With an ensemble cast or rappers featuring a few well-established fan favorites, this album should win over any devotee of late 90′s hardcore rap.
The team is fresh off the release of their preview mixtape for this very album (Brutal Blends) but actually attack the project separately; each track is produced by only one of the two–but they share a trademark murder-music sound. Stu Bangas is a frequent Vinnie Paz collaborator and recently dropped the video for “Got to Make It” featuring Copywrite. Vanderslice is more known for his cratedigging prowess and has worked with the likes of Planet Asia and Apathy. Both rappers appear on the Stu-produced “Half Dead” with Roc Marciano. The single is a good example of the album’s style; a minimal piano loop with hard-ass drums. The drums themselves are stripped down as well (in fact there is very little use of the hi-hat at all). Rap-wise it’s fairly predictable swaggery, rife with drug and gun references. That said, it’s done well with Apathy leading off: “So don’t go to sleep, I’m rippin’ out the souls of victims/Black hole flow, swallow whole solar systems.” His multisyllabic flow is on display here and his delivery, at least in this writer’s opinion, steals the show. Roc Marciano’s verse is not as lively but it’s a solid guest spot. Keeping in tune with the overall theme he offers “Examiner/ Man with stamina/ Where I’m from you either flip grams or be a janitor.” Planet Asia handles the chorus and last few bars with ease. His voice is one of the most recognizable in the game and it’s used to good effect here. “Shell-toe Adidas don, Sam Smithin’/Toothed Grizzly on a land mission/I drop jewels to make my fans listen/pop tools at ya man’s dissin’/knock noodles out ya can of spinach/Planet is vintage.”
The entire album is much along the same lines, which is its only real flaw. Diggaz With Attitude is a very cohesive work which is a testament to how well Stu and Vanderslice work together. Their styles are very similar so it’s a natural fit, but it does lack some diversity in production and subject matter. Track titles include “The Brutal Music Collection Agency,” “The Realest ft. Slaine and Ill Bill” and “Black Lung Rap ft. Reef da Lost Cauze.” The latter is, as one could imagine, about smoking weed and being a G. I also feel obligated to mention the aptly-titled “Okay Player” which is a pretty funny if not ridiculous tale of being an actual pimp. The subject is not new to rapper Wais P as he seems to be typecast for this role. The hard hitting street anthem is completed with an enthusiastic “Okaaaaaay” provided by Lil Jon (or is it Dave Chappelle?).
One of the highlights in my opinion is “The Van Sleazy Extravaganza” which is a hilarious interlude that plays two roles. It not only shows a humble side to the standard rough persona that embodies most hip-hop artists but it also offers a nice interlude into a standout track. The singer croons “My heart is filled with hatred and loathing/for your ugly faces and stupid, stupid clothing,” in r&b hook fashion. He continues to remind listeners that Vanderslice will kick your ass and this eventually fades into the original sample used in the next track “Casino Royale ft. Apathy and Blacastan.”
Diggaz is not aimed at getting much crossover but fans of the gritty, murder-murder won’t give a damn. What the album lacks in diversity, it makes up for in quality so with it’s many guest appearances I’d say find a rapper you like and give that track a listen.